Nestled snugly in the Midlands region, Offaly is a county that too often falls under the radar of those hoping to experience all Ireland has to offer.
The truth is that Offaly is a hidden gem which boasts bountiful parklands, scenic nature walks, and sites of monumental historical significance.
Here we round up the Top 5 things to see and do in County Offaly.
5. Tullamore D.E.W Visitor Centre
Set in the heart of Ireland, Tullamore D.E.W’s Old Bonded Warehouse sits on the banks of Tullamore’s Grand Canal.
Since 1829, they’ve sent out their famous whiskey to the world from this location. Nowadays, they invite the world to come to visit and share the story of how the whiskey became one of the world’s most famous whiskeys.
Tours are available here every day and you get to taste their lovely whiskey right at the end. We recommend the 12 year old whiskey, it’s our favourite!
Address: Bury Quay, Puttaghan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland
4. Birr Equestrian Centre
A haven for both experienced riders and complete beginners, Birr Equestrian Centres most appealing aspect is by far their wonderful trekking facilities.
The centre offers different trekking packages tailored to suit the abilities and needs of each individual rider, allowing each rider to have the best experience possible.
The treks take in the stunning surroundings of the Slieve Bloom mountains, an amenity which features later on during our countdown. The scenic treks incorporate a variation of train, from rugged mountain paths to flowing streams.
The staff at the centre are welcoming and do their utmost to make you feel at home in their stables, which are fully safe and secure with qualifications from AIRE, the leading equestrian board in Ireland. All bookings are made in advance, so call ahead to arrange your equestrian day out!
Address: Birr Equestrian Centre, Kingsborough House, Fortel, Birr, Co. Offaly
3. Birr Castle
Birr Castle, with its vast gardens and science centre, is an idyllic family day out. It strikes the perfect balance between natural beauty and modern technology, with something to interest and entertain everyone.
The gardens are luxuriously exotic, composed of plants harvested from far-flung locations over the last 150 years. The waters at Birr castle are one of the most mesmerising features – from a stunning waterfall to rivers and the lake, the tranquil sights and sound of water follow you wherever you wander in the 50 acres.
Birr is the proud home of a state of the art interactive science centre, where visitors can immerse themselves in the fascinating subjects of photography, astronomy and engineering. The star of the shoe, however, is the famous Great Telescope, which since its construction has achieved worldwide recognition.
Address: Birr Castle, Birr, Co. Offaly
2. Slieve Bloom Mountains
Ireland is renowned for its plethora of hikes, and Co. Offaly is no exception to the rule. The rolling mountains are peaceful and well preserved, with the Mountains being some of the least explored in Ireland.
The Kinnitty Castle Loop is one of the best walks that the mountain range has to offer. There are rough patches but overall it is a low stamina walk that can be enjoyed by hikers who have little experience.
Most of this walk takes place in the beautiful woodlands which are truly a sight to behold during the Autumnal months – the ground is transformed into a colourful carpet of fallen leaves and you are enveloped by a blanket of reds, browns and golds.
Make sure to stop by the wonderful Kinnitty Castle, the namesake of the loop. A fine example of 19th-century Gothic architecture, the castle has now been renovated and is a luxurious hotel in the heart of the Midlands.
Address: Slieve Bloom Mountains, Co. Offaly
1. Lough Boora Parklands
Lough Boora is one of the most beautiful locations in the country, and we would highly encourage anyone with an interest in walking or cycling to make the most of this stellar amenity.
The parklands consist of several walking routes, varying greatly in their length and difficulty. The sprawling parklands are best explored by bike, with bikes available to hire at the centre. A bike will set you back 30 euro for the entire day and is a great investment as it will allow you to take in as much of the glorious parklands as possible.
Trails consist of bogland, lakeside paths, farmlands, woodlands, and old rail trails. One of the most magical features in the parklands are the statues dotted across the land – these statues incorporate the natural beauty and wonder of the surroundings, with pieces made from stone, bog oak, and recycled railway tracks.
From family trips to romantic walks with a significant other, to a day out with friends, the Lough Boora Parklands should be high on the list for anyone wishing to see what Offaly has to offer.
Address: Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly